Log: Rhodey & Sam, mid-January Who: Sam and Rhodey What: Brainstorming for the team exercises When: Mid January but before the kaiju attack Where: A bar in Harlem (same one where Rhodey met Fury) Warnings: None.
Rhodey wasn't exactly a regular yet at the bar, but he had been a couple of times since he'd met with Fury and he'd decided he really liked the place and its old-school vibe. The music today was more blaxploitation than Motown but the drinks were still good and today, Rhodey had grabbed a plate of wings to accompany them. When Sam arrived, Rhodey waved him over; there was already a beer waiting for him.
When he’d gotten the memories of accepting the shield from Steve, Sam hadn’t anticipated needing to step into a leadership role around here for a long time. Of course nothing ever went the way that Sam planned, so here he was, meeting with Rhodey to discuss some team exercises to keep the Avengers battle ready for whatever challenge they faced next. He had no intention of taking up the shield in these exercises though. He just wasn’t ready for that, plus he hoped that maybe Steve would come back to this weirdass universe.
“Hey, man,” he said, sliding into the seat across from Rhodey, grateful to see that he’d already ordered them beer. “How’s it going?”
"Pretty good," Rhodey said. He held out the wings as well: they were drippy with sauce but looked good. "Weird shit central, like usual around here. Keeping Ross and his cronies out of our business, making sure the remnants of HYDRA aren't pulling any surprises on us, the usual." The music was loud enough that they could talk quietly and not be overheard easily. If the locals had recognized Rhodey or Fury or Sam, they didn't have anything to say about it. "How you holding up? I heard about Steve vanishing. I haven't had it happen here but I know it's rough losing your best friend."
Sam appreciated that he was able to maintain a much lower profile than someone like Steve or Stark. The whole notion of people making him some kind of celebrity because of his involvement with the Avengers made him deeply uncomfortable. “Never a dull moment, that’s for sure,” he remarked. That was true in any reality that they existed in from what he’d seen. Maybe there was one out there where they all had totally normal lives. That was nice to think about, though he honestly didn’t know what that would even look like.
“I’m… okay,” he said with a shrug. “It sucks, but it is what it is, you know? I was going to have to get used to being without him back in our universe.” Maybe Rhodey didn’t know that. He wasn’t sure if others knew about Steve’s choice to remain in the past or not. His own memories didn’t go any further than accepting the shield on that bench.
"Yeah." Rhodey didn't really remember much about that, but he'd been preoccupied at the time by Tony's death, which had taken the bulk of his attention. "Sometimes people come back. So maybe he will. Anyway, you're not alone here, Sam, and you don't have to be anybody or anything you don't want to be. Though I have to say having a team exercise with you and me leading it--" Rhodey grinned to lighten the mood "--well let's just say I'm glad to be working with you on this, you know?"
“I am right there with you, brother,” Sam said with a laugh. He hoped they could both be positive role models to the black community. Maybe he and T’Challa could bring Rhodey into some of the stuff they were working on for the Wakandan outreach centers. “The rest of the team might not like it though once they realize we’re putting them through boot exercises.” It would be good discipline for them though.
"Hey," Rhodey pointed out, "we are never too old, or too high-ranking, to do a few boot exercises. It's good for us. And we've had a lot of personnel changes so it's good for us all. Tony was right about that. You have thoughts about how we should split folks up to get a good workout?"
Since getting the message from Tony, Sam had been thinking about their options. They were dealing with people at various levels of physical fitness and some with special abilities that they would need to take into consideration. “Yeah, a little bit,” he said, pulling a small notepad out of his pocket so he could jot down some notes as they talked through the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and what areas they should focus on.
Like Sam, Rhodey had also noticed that some people had kept up better than others (excepting Wanda, who had reasons to be exempt from not just training but any hard physical work). He had his phone open to keep his notes and as he and Sam discussed each Avenger and how they could get the fairest teams: splitting people who worked together most often like the Asgardians and putting people who hadn't worked together in the past on the same team. That last was complicated by their memories from the other world, but Rhodey figured those didn't exactly count. It took them a while to work out what they thought was a fair pair of teams, but after a while, they managed it.
"I think," Rhodey said, "we have earned ourselves a break. Want to grab the table while I get us each a beer?" He gestured toward the pool tables, one of which had lost its players while Rhodey and Sam were working.